B.S.M., Lake Zurich, Switzerland - Original early 19th-century graphite drawing


An original early 19th-century graphite drawing, B.S.M. Lake Zurich, Switzerland.

A charming graphite drawing with white bodycolour highlights, showing the Seedamm, a historic wooden bridge, on Lake Zurich in Switzerland, with the Alps in the background. On pale grey paper.

Initialled lower left 'B.S.M.' Inscribed lower left 'Lake of Zurich'.
A pale brown background wash has been applied, which has age toned as shown.
9.8cm x 13.7cm.

This work forms part of a collection of pictures from an early nineteenth-century tooled leather album or ‘friendship book’. Seen as a record of friendship, this relatively small-scale artwork takes on a particularly intimate charm.

Friendship books were very popular in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Usually the name of the book’s owner was inscribed inside the front cover, and it was then circulated among their friends: each friend would write a dedication inside – perhaps poetry or a quotation – before returning it. In the more interesting examples, they would also include small works of art, and other mementoes.

The works of art, like the inscriptions of poetry or quotations, would often reflect on the value of friendship, communicating values of loyalty and steadfastness. The drawings or paintings would depict emblematic flowers such as forget-me-nots, or landscape views of inspiring scenes. Over time, friendship books built up into fascinating documents: visually rich, and giving an intimate picture of the book’s owner’s relationships. Some friendship books even came with built-in locks, to keep the dedications from prying eyes.

Text copyright © 2017 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JH-094

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